Risk Management

Square-Off: How Will Climate Change Affect Companies?

The effects will be many and varied, experts say.
David McCannNovember 21, 2017
Square-Off: How Will Climate Change Affect Companies?

What will happen if President Trump follows through on his stated intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2019?

In all likelihood, not much at all will be different than would occur if there were no withdrawal. Myriad efforts by states, organizations directly focused on limiting damage to the Earth, and, increasingly, corporations will be largely unaffected. And on a worldwide basis, 170 countries have signed the Paris pact.

When it comes to climate change, the “ayes” have it by a mile. The days of credible discussions featuring arguments that a changing climate is a figment of liberal imaginations are fading.

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Typically in Square-Off we present opposing viewpoints on a debatable topic. That’s what we intended to do here. As it turns out, though, it seems that few folks are left with the opinion that climate change won’t have massive effects on companies. At least, no one we encountered was inclined to say so out loud.

We do, though, present four different takes on the subject. One piece serves as a sort of grab bag, listing all manner of ways climate change is changing things up across the corporate landscape. Another analyzes why some companies are loath, to this point, to disclose climate-related risks.

A third article points out the Financial Stability Board’s increasing focus on climate risk and that recommendations from the board’s climate-change task force are pointed at companies’ risk management functions rather than sustainability departments. The piece also highlights some of the industries that are most immediately affected by climate risk.

Finally, we present an intriguing look at the many opportunities — that’s right — that climate change presents for entrepreneurs and existing businesses alike.

As you read through the articles in this package, think about whether you and the company you work for are putting forth your share of effort to fight the potentially devastating effects of climate change. Only a massive, concerted global effort will be likely to produce a positive result.